What are Coop Schools?

We’re hearing more and more about coop schools (and coop preschools) these days. It’s an interesting educational concept, and we wanted to open up a discussion about it!

What Are Coop Schools?

A coop (or “cooperative”) school is organized and run by a group of parents who hire one or more teachers to work with their kids.

Parents generally remain highly involved in the educational process at coop schools, taking turns with volunteer work that can run the gamut from traditional classroom activities to hands-on construction, cleaning, administration, fundraising, and more. At some coop schools, parents are in charge of the teaching duties as well.

While some coop preschools allow parents to “buy out” of certain duties if they lack the time or inclination to participate, the general expectation is that parents will be extremely involved and hands-on. Parents who are not looking for an immersive experience like this might be better off with a traditional preschool arrangement.

Why Start A Coop School?

Coop schools give parents a great deal of freedom to shape their kids’ curriculum and educational experience, far more so than at traditional public or private schools. Parents are also able to spend more time with their preschool-age children, as the parents are very hands-on at the coop school. Many highly involved parents prefer a coop for this reason.

Who Runs Coop Schools?

Coop schools are often governed by a board arrangement, with parents serving terms of varying length. They tend to be non-profit, non-sectarian organizations.

How Much Is Tuition At A Coop School?

Tuition arrangements vary, but coop schools tend to be less expensive than traditional preschools.

What Are The Benefits Of Coop Schools?

Parent Cooperative Schools InternationalAccording to Parent Cooperative Preschools International, “parents gain insight into child behavior by observing other children…children are able to find security and a feeling of belonging.” Additionally, “parents and children develop an extended family with friendships they carry through their lives.”

What Are The Drawbacks Of Coop Schools?

A story on Babble.com notes that “One of the problems with the co-op system is that very often, the parents will have very different visions for how the school is to be run.” Additionally, given the lack of professional administrators, there can be “squabbles and confusion galore” unless a very clear structure is in place.

Where Can I Get More Info?

Parent Cooperative Schools International is a great resource if you’re thinking about starting or joining a coop preschool in your area.

Are You Already Affiliated with a Coop School?

Are you affiliated with a coop school or coop preschool? We’d love to hear directly from some of our readers that have first-hand experience with this budding educational concept. I personally think it’s brilliant and on paper makes a ton of sense. Will you please consider leaving a comment below with your thoughts on advantages or disadvantages with coop schools.